1. For your Queen City roundup this weekend, why not start Friday with some, well, Queen City? A special reunion show featuring the power-pop-punk band Queen City – how many times can we say Queen City? – is set for Paddy’s, along with Bangorians When Particles Collide and Temperature of the Sun. Friday night also brings the annual AS4MS concert, sponsored by WHSN-FM, and featuring the bands A Loss For Words (pictured), Beyond Goodbye and Worried Well; the show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University, and admission is $10 and benefits National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Meanwhile, at Nocturnem on Friday there’s Mellow Endeavor, playing their last Bangor show before they go into the studio to record, and at Ipanema, there’s songwriter Kevin Hamel. On Saturday, Trisha Mason takes over Paddy’s, Magnetic North are at Ipanema, the Blood Orange Martinis play the blues at Nocturnem, and at Hollywood Casino, you can rock with the Larks. Also on Saturday, Bender and E-Rok Steady, two local hip hop artists, begin their Saturday night residency at the Big Easy Lounge at the Charles Inn, a night that will feature guest stars and other performers as it progresses. In Orono on Friday Woodman’s hosts Roots, Rhythm and Dub, and finally, the third and final weekend of “Always… Patsy Cline” is at the Bangor Opera House, and rumor has it the Penobscot Theatre’s big hit may sell out all three weekend shows again. Get your tickets now!
2. There are two great shows at Empire in Portland this weekend – Friday, it’s the Cyborg Trio with Sounduo, and on Saturday, it’s a triple threat of heavy rock with Murcielago, the Class Machine (<3), and Holy Boys Danger Club. The Space Gallery hosts Texas folk-rock ensemble Buxton with Portland band An Evening With. There’s soul and funk all weekend at the Big Easy, with Sly-Chi on Friday and Kenya Hall and Zach Jones on Saturday. The State Theatre hosts Soulive and the Alan Evans Trio on Friday night, and Dada Life and 12th Planet on Saturday. At Geno’s, there’s Coalsack in Crux, Haru Bangs and Johnny Cremains on Friday, and Cruel Hand and Rude Awakening on Saturday. There’s also three crazily different events at the Asylum this weekend – a 90s dance party on Friday, the Maine Academy of Modern Music Playing for Change showcase featuring Katy Gaga, the Veayo Twins, Dominic Lavoie and many others, and none other than Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan on Sunday. How’s that for diversity? Jeezum! Finally, there’s a truly wonderful rock show on Friday night at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford – Lady Lamb the Beekeeper (pictured above) and Coke Weed.
3. Starting down on the coast, the Rockport Opera House hosts a wonderful night of music featuring coastal bands the 220s and the Toughcats; the show is on Saturday night at 7 and benefits the Penobscot Bay YMCA Teen Center. In Belfast, the beautiful Aarhus Gallery hosts Balkan duo Cinder Conk Aarhus, and in Bar Harbor, there are two fun shows this weekend, in these last waning days of the season. At the Lompoc, Coke Weed plays Friday and the gorgeous folk duo Arborea play Saturday; at the Thirsty Whale Friday, you can groove with Clusterfunk. And don’t forget – back up in Waldo County on Sunday, there’s a very special unplugged performance from bluesman Smokin’ Joe Kubek and B’Nois King at 4 Points Barbecue in Winterport.
4. Of course, no mention of the third weekend in September would be complete without the Common Ground Fair – 35 years and counting of food, animals, information, music, art and the life sustainable. It’s a beautiful three days at the Unity Fairgrounds, and it’s something that every Mainer should go to at least once in their lives. Admission is $12 – $8 for seniors, free for kids – and it’s recommended you bring extra cash and devote a solid 30-40 minutes for parking and walking to the fairgrounds. Some of the music set for the fest includes a who’s who of Maine bands, including Audrey Ryan, Putnam Smith, the Toughcats, Post Provost, Meteora, the Milkman’s Union, Cinder Conk, The Gawler Family, the Rugged, David Dodson and many others. The CGF always feels like the start of fall to me – doesn’t it to you?
5. Ooh, what a great weekend for comedy in eastern Maine! Friday night, the Bangor area’s premiere improv troupe the Focus Group performs at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer. At the Gracie Theatre at Husson University performers from the Second City – the oldest and arguably the best improv group in the country – perform their touring show, “Second City for President,” skewering politics, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. And in Bar Harbor, you can catch one more weekend of Improv Acadia, with shows at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.